Thursday, June 18, 2009

Landed. & Part 1 of conversation w/ Aaron Tieger

Finally settled at Tanglewood for the summer. A busy opening week. I hope to be blogging regularly as the season gets underway. Lots of great programming this year. If anyone is going to be in the area and interested in checking out the Zukofsky settings (or any other concerts) lemme know.

Got some new pieces in the final issue of Puppyflowers, as well as the new issue of String of Small Machines. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in making those issues stellar. 

In other news: After receiving a whole slew of really good chapbooks/books this spring, I’ve decided to start asking some questions of the authors. The first Test Pilot: Aaron Tieger. Aaron’s new books include, SECRET DONUT, ANXIETY CHANT, COLLECTED TYPOS, & the collaboration with Jess Mynes & Michael Carr, NECCO FACE. Here’s Part 1 of 2…


AH: One of the things I really admire about your work is that you seem to always be able to take down the poem that is right there in front of you. In this respect your work reminds me of Eigner’s, in that you can take the world that you are presented with and transform it into a poem with a beguiling ease...

AT: I like Eigner a lot, but it’s not coming out of him so much as it is Bernadette Mayer, Bill Corbett, people like that. I’m very much a transcriptionist, I think. I feel like there’s always material in front of or all around me; it’s just a matter of filtering out what the interesting stuff is and how it related to whatever’s in my head. Which of course requires sorting out what’s in my head.

It can get a little limiting, which I think is my chief frustration with my own writing, that basically I need to get out more. It’s difficult because I tend to start from such concrete materials, and often have a hard time infusing or grafting enough abstraction to make it actually go somewhere. I have, though, made a conscious effort to put less of my cat into the poems, though it doesn’t always work.

AH: The repetitions in your poems are very subtle. And it adds an air of seriality to the pieces. I was wondering if this is a conscious part of the composition process, or does it just develop organically?

AT: Are you thinking of repeated images, or moods, or what? If we’re talking about images, it’s probably a byproduct of that transcriptionist element I mentioned. As Dorothea Lasky has noted, the word “project” is problematic, but I do feel like this sort of daily serial transcriptionist thing is, for lack of a better word, my ongoing project. Of my books, I see Days and Days, February, Coltsfoot Insularity, Spring Poems, Summer Poems, Anxiety Chant, most of Secret Donut, & Recently Clouds as constituting the main body of work, whereas stuff like Sea Shanties, After Rilke, the French poems in Secret Donut, and Collected Typos are more experimental side-project type stuff.

Also, the classical Japanese and Chinese poets were very actively important to me for quite a while in my 20s, and their attention to chronology and the seasons definitely rubbed off. When I’m arranging a manuscript, or even a longer poem or sequence, it’s virtually impossible for me not to consider the chronology of the poems’ composition in my arrangement, to the point where if I break chronology, I feel physically uncomfortable.

AH: Sound, & sounds, seem to be a recurring theme in Anxiety Chant. And there is an attention to sound at the line level that really moves the poems along a vigorous way. Can you speak about how you approach the organization of sound in your poems? And what sound (and I know this is abstract & broad) means to you as a poet in terms of composition?

AT: It’s not something I consciously work on, at least not at first. I think about it more in terms of overall, hmm, impact, may be the right word. I aim for directness and so first I think about the line & how I want the line to breathe and how I want it to strike. That’s mostly a rhythmic issue that I first really started thinking about back in 2000 or 2001, when I saw Joe Torra read at MIT. The way he read (especially “Brisk Walk to Harvard Square” which is one of my favorite Boston poems) sounded to me just like the Ramones: 4/4, no fills, no bullshit. And that started me thinking about getting a more “direct” quality into my work.

You always think about things like what word sounds the best at the end of the line, but I tend to do that mostly automatically, I think. When I’m organizing a poem my conscious concern is space, the indents and breaks. 

AH: Lets talk about music. Music seems to play a huge role in your work. Waiting Room (Fugazi), Boss (Springsteen, and the Darkness on the Edge of Town line at the end), Billy Zoom (guitar player for X) makes an appearance in Thinking About Feelings… how do these things feed into your composition process? And I swear I can hear a skateboard in Thinking About Feelings as well...

AT: Yeah, that’s a skateboard. The half-pipe was a big influence on a lot of the poems in Anxiety Chant.

Music is my first love — I started playing guitar when I was 13 or 14, probably around the same time as I started writing poems, but as a kid I always thought I’d grow up to be a musician, not a writer. There’s a visceral quality that music has that — for me, anyway —  poetry rarely does, and that’s a quality I try to get at in various, usually invisible ways when I write. That 4/4 thing with Joe Torra and the Ramones. Or, more recently, the abstraction of jazz, however cliché that may be.

As for the references, well, they’re part of what’s around me, and so if I drop Billy Zoom or a John Cale quote into a poem, it plays fundamentally the same role for me as the weather, or my cat, or whatever. Most of the time I just steal or warp lines from songs without citing them, which I think/hope makes it a more organic part of the finished product than if I included a list of citations at the end of a book. If I’m including someone else’s line, it’s because I want the line, not so much because I want people to think specifically of New Order, for example.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rumble in Wendell

Don't miss this reading. Just don't. No excuses. Just go. You'll love it. I promise.

Hello good peeps,

Ten reasons to attend the All Small Caps reading on Monday:

  • 1) Anselm Berrigan lives and writes in New York City, where he was raised and continues to be so. He is teaching at a few schools as a part-timer and considers teaching a noble trade though it makes him feel crazy. Some time this spring he will be officially a person who has written poetry for more than half his life. He recently put out a longish poem called Have A Good One in which the phrase Have A Good One is used slightly more than eight dozen times as a repeating title. Dana Ward had the where with all to publish and circulate this work, which tells you something about him. Berrigan has a book called Free Cell coming out later in the year from City Lights, and hopes his less-than-two-years-old daughter continues to improve his poems.
  • 2) Sean Cole's poems have appeared in such magazines as Court Green, Black Clock, Carve, Torch, Pavement Saw, Magazine Cypress and Pom Pom. He has a chapbook out on Pressed Wafer press called "Itty City," and full-length collection of postcard poems called "The December Project" that was published by Boog Literature. He's also a reporter for the public radio business show Marketplace and other programs. Now and then, he is called upon to write short autobiographical statements like this one.
  • 3) Dana Ward is the author of Goodnight Voice (House Press, 2008), the Drought (Open 24hrs, forthcoming 2009), & Roseland (Louis Wain Editions,forthcoming 2009). Recent work has appeared in Try!, the Brooklyn Rail,With+Stand, & Typesetter. He works as an advocate for adult literacy at the Over The Rhine Learning Center.
  • 4) It is the last reading of the season until September 28th.
  • 6) The return of Flaco Charles Bado to MC after a one month hiatus. He promises to do a five minute free style for his kick off of the open mic.
  • 9) We have a new sound system that will allow you to sit in the back room and still hear the readers.
Trees in their youth look younger
Than almost anything
I mean
In the spring
When they put forth green leaves and try
To look like real trees
Honest to God my heart aches when I see them trying.

Jack Spicer

We hope to see you there. Come read, listen, eat food, drink beer, and celebrate this wonderful reading series that wouldn't be possible without your continued support. Thanks very much.

Jess, Paul, Charles, Stephen

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thank You Everyone

If Catullus had lived in the age of skateboards his name would be Andy Hughes. Let's call him a young, lyrical, New Englander who crafts the line into a bloom of self-effacing, reflective, and always funny-sad passages. These poems are indeed passages— passages into a creative life filled with promise, and passages into a forthright sympathy for the wobbly human heart. -- Lisa Jarnot

The first printing has sold out. & Jay over at BookThug informs me that we are going into a second printing. Thanks for your support everyone! SOTGM is available through the BookThug website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This is going to be good!

Hello everyone,

Fewer & Further Press is pleased to announce the publication of Jordan Davis' From Orange to Pink, printed in an edition of 200 copies, 40 of which are special editions.

Copies can be purchased for $7, postpaid. Please visit the Fewer & Further Press site for an excerpt and cover image. Payments can be made through the site with Paypal.
Special editions are hand-sewn and signed by the author, for $9. If you would like to purchase a special edition, please contact the editor for availability.
If you would like to pay by check, mail it to:

Jess Mynes
121 Lockes Village Rd
Wendell, MA 01379

Also copies of from Sky Brightly Picked are available through the Asterisk page of the Fewer and Further Press site. The entire manuscript of these poems will be published in the Summer 2009 by Skysill Press.

Thank you very much.

Jess Mynes, editor

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Special Teams

All sorts of goodies dropping lately. Among the bounty: Necco Face, by Michael Carr, Jess Mynes, & Aaron Tieger (Editions Louis Wain); a selection from Sky Brightly Picked, also by Mynes and out sometime this year from Skysill Press; Hassle Number 5, featuring a selection of poems by Whit Griffin; Hospitality in the Forest, by Arlo Quint (Rustbuckle); Vehicular Number 1, featuring J.D. Mitchell-Lumsden & Evan Kennedy's All The Young Dudes (Press Gang); and Anxiety Chant, by Aaron Tieger (Skysill). Everyone should track these down immediately and savor. Here’s a sampling from Griffin:


As A Swarm of Bees To A Brass Pan


Agnostic as to an afterlife, past wrongs

and fitful triumphs kept alive in oral history.

Stretch out in a rocky crag shielded by sycamores

and turn your thoughts to Coleridge, convulsing

in opium withdrawal.


Days spent with the tipsy ballerina who’ll

twirl to any tune. Practicing sympathetic

magic and waiting on the post for word of

St. Germain, aged 538 by popular account,

and last seen in Carroll Gardens.


Anoint the offending axe with fragrant oil.

A fresh fly will find birthroot a worthy

substitute for the carrion flower. There’s

no sport in catching the goat if you own

the field. It’s impossible to be productive

in a house that’s not been properly named.


& while we’re at it, let’s check out a little of the Mynes:


Untitled, 1953


past midday in a

crush crayon green


cracked to virtue


think Spring

inking creeks


I’m only as good

mouthing back



Thursday, March 12, 2009


Congratulations brother.